Dodger Blues Continue
One of the most storied franchises in baseball history took a huge hit today, when they announced that they would be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. As many analysts predicted, the fate of the Los Angeles Dodgers was sealed yesterday when their owner appeared in court to say that the team was officially bankrupt. And even though Frank McCourt’s divorce appears to be the biggest issue contributing to the owner’s inability to make payroll for his team, McCourt is instead blaming baseball commissioner Bud Selig.
Selig, who recently vetoed a proposal that would have given the Dodgers $385 million up front, and up to $3 billion over the course of the next few years, says that the 17-year television deal wasn’t just bad for the league, or even for the Dodgers themselves, but would have given McCourt the available funds to keep fighting his wife in court, obviously not what the money was intended for. McCourt contends that Selig maliciously obstructed the deal so that McCourt would inevitably have to sell part of the team. And while Selig has only commented to say that this was not the case and left it at that, McCourt’s own debt totals and personal finance woes show that the owner has been misusing funds appropriated for the team for some time now, and it has finally caught up with him.
The sad fact now remains, however, that even though McCourt will be able to make payroll and potentially sign new players, the franchise that can trace its beginnings to 1884, is now going to be forcefully split up by the league. What’s even worse, still, is that McCourt, who is still the principal owner (even though he is unable to control the team’s day to day operations due to league suspension), doesn’t have to sell the team outright, and can even remain the majority owner.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt sad for L.A. Dodgers fans. Many of them live in beautiful Southern California, and their former owner did steal the Dodgers from Brooklyn, a borough that loved and cherished the fact that they had a team (even though they consistently lost to the Yankees time and time again). But ultimately, no team deserves an owner that’s so shallow that he uses the team’s own money to fund his divorce and lavish lifestyle. I know athletes make a ridiculous amount of money to begin with, but when you’re paying your lawyer and home decorator before your star outfielder, you’ve got some serious problems and don’t deserve to own a baseball team.